Child birth costs go up in UAE

Abu Dhabi: Child birth charges will soon go up 100 per cent at all Ministry of Health affiliated hospitals if you do not have a health card, according to a circular issued by the Ministry. The cost of a normal delivery has gone up to Dh 5,000 from Dh 2,500. A caesarean’s cost has doubled to Dh 8000 from Dh 4,000.

Karunakaran, former Kerala chief minister, is dead.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Veteran Congress leader K. Karunakaran, who was four times chief minister of Kerala, died in a hospital here on Thursday, doctors said. He was 92. Karunakaran was admitted to the hospital Dec 10. His condition worsened on Wednesday. Affectionately called ’Leader’ by his admirers, Congress stalwart Kannoth Karunakaran was a master tactician who remained a ’King’ in Kerala politics for decades and at times a much sought after political troubleshooter at the national level. Considered a close lieutenant of former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, the four-time former Kerala chief minister has been credited with creating in the 1970s a rainbow coalition--the United Democratic Front(UDF)-- that has sustained itself on the support from different social, caste and religious groups as a powerful bloc to take on CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front(LDF).

Sachin is Sachin... he is the real Bharat Ratna: Lata Mangeshkar

NEW DELHI: Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar feels blessed to have a ’son’ like Sachin Tendulkar and wants the batting sensation to carry on his innings for many more years and win the Bharat Ratna. Congratulating Sachin on his hitting his 50th test century, his avid fan says her blessings are always with the ’little master’. "Sachin treats me like his mother and I always pray for her like a mother. I can never forget the day when he called me ’aai’ (mother) for the first time. I had never imagined that. It was pleasant surprise for me and I feel blessed to have a son like him," Lata said.

Tomato prices shoot up, make consumers see red

New Delhi: Even as citizens are yet to come to terms with skyrocketing prices of onion, tomato prices have shot up across cities by almost Rs 10-15, currently selling at RS 45-55 a kg. Prices of tomato soared to Rs 50 a kg in Delhi on Thursday double of what it was ten days ago.

$1.5bn WB loan for roads

The World Bank has said it had agreed a $1.5bn loan to help India improve its rural roads, the latest effort to beef up the country’s infrastructure. “Improving the access and quality of rural roads is critical to increasing growth and promoting development in lagging regions,” said the bank’s India director Roberto Zagha. Although the Indian economy has grown apace in recent years, its infrastructure remains notoriously creaky.

IndiGo plans Gulf flights by next year

IndiGo, India’s third largest domestic airline will soon go international with flights to the Middle East and South East Asian destinations. “We have applied for licence to operate flights to international destinations when we complete the mandatory five years of domestic operations in 240 days. We hope to launch the first flights before September next year,” said Aditya Ghosh, IndiGo’s president. “We’ll be offering the best services to the customers. We already have 300 pilots and 500 cabin crew with us and we’ll be hiring more for this.”

America - Countering Commercialization of Christmas

Christmas is celebrated today more as a sales frenzy than as the most important birth in history. Unfortunately, Christians are susceptible to this commercial mentality, and too many have compromised the message of giving. Often, we give useless gifts at Christmas, because it’s expected of us, and we feel guilty if we don’t. And the closer we get to Christmas, the pressure to give these unnecessary gifts builds & we feel depressed & unworthy if we can’t give.

Udupi Utsav to showcase culture, tradition

After a gap of four years, Udupi is all set to open its arms to the magnificent gala - ’Udupi Utsav’. The fest is a blend of cultural amusements and artistic ventures specially arranged to enthrall Udupians. The month long fest was informally inaugurated on Friday. The fest is arranged in such a way that all sorts of entertainment will be offered to the public. The fest will end on January 15. The major attraction of Utsav is the exhibition and cultural programmes. The expo represents the rich cultural ethnicity of land by giving impetus to variety of handicrafts. The expo consists of 150 stalls, entirely focused on ethnic and traditional artifacts of the area. Most of the stalls are filled with consumer items. Handlooms, handicrafts, Jaipur bangles, fancy stationeries, jute bags, food items, terracotta products and others are displayed in the exhibition.

Free onions on purchase of tyres, Humble bulb as X’mas gifts

A trader in Jharkand today offered free onions on purchase of tyres while a noted humourist in Punjab plans to give this essential kitchen ingredient as gifts to housewives during Christmas as a way to flag people’s mounting concern on skyrocketing onion prices. As responses to the dramatic increase in prices of the humble bulb are played out in a variety of ways, the issue led to pandemonium in the Orissa Assembly. While the politically sensitive issue of rising onion prices literally bringing tears across the country, there have been unusual counter protests with Farmers in Hubli staging a "rasta roko" in front of the office of the Agriculture Produce Market Committee demanding that the prices should not be allowed to fall down. "We are offering five kg onion free on the purchase of a truck tyre and one kg on the purchase of a car tyre," Satnam Singh Gambhir, a tyre seller at Kalimati Road in Sakchi in Ranchi said. Gambhir is also the president of All India Sikh Students’ Federation of Bihar and Jharkhand.

Railway collects Rs50mn from ticketless travellers

The Northern Railway collected Rs50mn as fines from 1.2mn passengers for travelling without tickets between April and November this year, an official said. Also, 425 passengers were caught travelling with others’ tickets. “We had launched a special drive from April to November but seeing the response, we will continue it during the winter vacations also,” said Northern Railway spokesman A S Negi.

Onion prices in the UAE hit record high.

Dubai: Onion prices in the UAE have reached a record high as the supply of the highest in demand Indian variety has come to a halt. The cost of one kilogramme of onions was approximately Dh 1.65 in the month of July. The same now costs up to Dh 4.95. The Indian government on Monday banned the export of onions after the price of them in Indian cities more than doubled in two weeks time. The export ban was put in place to overcome the domestic shortfall of onions due to unusually heavy rains in areas where they are cultivated, officials had announced.

Protest against ‘happy farmer’ ad in Karnataka

The advertisement, published in some Kannada newspapers on December 19, shows a ‘happy’ farmer harvesting sugarcane and another driving a tractor. It claims that the “doors of his fortune opened after the BJP came to power.” This has enraged the farmers of Baburayanakopplu village in Srirangapatna taluk, Mandya district. The reason — the ‘happy farmer’ committed suicide 18 months ago because of his inability to repay his debts.

Hindutvas Attack Mumbai’s New Life Carol Singers

The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) strongly protests police inaction against some miscreants, allegedly from the Hindu Rashtra Sena, who brutally beat up carol singing Christians on Worli Seaface yesterday. The police took notice of the abduction & thrashing only on the intervention of Dr. Abraham Mathai, Maharashtra Minorities Commission, but merely warned the attackers & let them off scot free. The CSF is meeting RR Patil, the state home minister seeking action against the errant police officials and urging action against the ringleader Dhananjay Desai, who can be heard spitting venom on Utube and spreading hatred among communities:

Bahrain plans to raise retirement age to 65

Bahrain is seriously studying raising the retirement age to 65 instead of the current 60 for the public and private sectors. The rules for those opting for an early retirement such as in case of sickness will not be affected in the new proposed draft law. According to the Bahrain-based Al Wattan newspaper, a daft law in this regard will be referred soon to the parliament to be approved within the first year of this legislative term.

Maruti’s fully made in India car to hit roads by 2012

New Delhi, Dec 20 (PTI) The country’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India’s ’’completely made in India car’’ will hit the roads by 2012 and the company is likely to finalise the design within the next six months. According to people in the know of the project for the car, the company will finalise the design, engine size and how to position it in the market within the next six months. "It is likely that the made in India car will be positioned along with MSI’’s its best selling model Alto," a source said.

Soon, you can apply for a ration card online

Very soon, ration cards (APL cards) can be obtained at just the click of a mouse. The State Food and Civil Supplies department is working on introducing an online system of issuing ration cards across the State. Under the system, people need not run from pillar to post to locate the local department office to submit an application seeking the card. Applicants need to just fill in a prescribed application form online and attach a passport-sized photograph. They also have to disclose the Revenue Register (RR) number issued by the respective electricity supply company, like Bescom, while submitting the online application. Online application form will be made available on the department website, officials said.

The simple housewife who hit the jackpot

Rahat Taslim, a simple housewife from Jharkhand who did not have a bank account till recently, was the first woman to win Rs 1 crore on the reality game show Kaun Banega Crorepati this season. She tells Savera R Someshwar about the financial difficulties of her past and the jackpot that will change that forever.

Export ban brings onion prices down sharply

NEW DELHI - Onion prices fell more than 30 percent after the government banned exports to rein in the cost of the vegetable, a staple and sometimes a trigger for voter protests over inflation. Prices had more than doubled in the past week due to a shortage caused by unusually heavy rain in growing areas. Discontent about food price inflation is another headache for a coalition government struggling with a slew of corruption allegations and an emboldened opposition. The agriculture ministry on Monday banned exports until Jan. 15, and will import onions from neighbouring Pakistan, as retail prices jumped to 80 rupees ($1.77) per kg from 35 rupees per kg last week, local media reported. "The situation will be normal in two to three weeks. Onion prices rose because of rains in Nasik and other onion growing areas," Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar told reporters on Tuesday

Sachin still remains an ambassador of cricket.

Sachin Tendulkar made his Test debut at 16 and played 20 of his first 21 Tests on foreign soil. If his 50 Test hundreds lends a new dimension to his stature as a grown-up, the above piece of information gives an idea why he was referred to as a Boy Wonder. Sachin averaged 38 in those 21 Tests with four hundreds and five half-centuries. And the tours included Pakistan, New Zealand, England, Australia and South Africa. If there ever was a single statistic indicating a players promise, it was this.What we are watching now is fulfillment of that promise in abundance - such a rarity in a quirky world. There are some compelling arguments in favour of Sachin being the most complete batsman. Giving marks to each type of shotmaking (from the straight drive to paddle sweep; and from defensive dot to a cheeky single), the sum of Sachin will be greater than any other batsman of the TV era.

Canada universities woo Indian students

India is back on the radar of Canadian universities and colleges which are looking to ramp up enrolment of Indian students, says the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). According to AUCC president Paul Davidson, who led a huge educational mission to India last month, the Asian country is now becoming the favourite destination for Canadian universities seeking to woo foreign students.

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